|Friday morning, 1-17-2014, looking north from the Baltimore Convention Center|
Friday afternoon's poetry reading was a fine event -- with many wonderful poems (more about that in later posts) and an enthusiastic audience. Some of these guests were recruited by Villanova mathematician Douglas Norton, chair of the math-arts sessions, who composed a limerick to announce the event. I have not before been the subject of a limerick; with Doug's permission, I share it with you. Thanks, Doug.
There once was a woman named JoAnne,
A math-poet second to no man.
Join her on her path
Through poems and math
Come hear her on Friday if you can.
In the open-reading portion of Friday's program, Ben Orlin read his poem, "A Fight with Euclid" -- a lively ballad about Euclid's argument that the set of primes is infinite. The poem is available here at his website. I offer the opening stanzas below in an attempt to draw you to the rest of it -- or go directly to Orlin's website (mathwithbaddrawings.com) to enjoy the illustrated whole. Thanks, Ben!
from A Fight with Euclid by Ben Orlin
I had a fight with Euclid on the nature of the primes.
It got a little heated -- you know how the tension climbs.
It started out most civil, with a honeyed cup of tea;
we traded tales of scholars, like Descartes and Ptolemy.
But as the tea began to cool, our chatter did as well.
We’d had our fill of gossip. We sat silent for a spell.
That’s when Euclid turned to me, and said, “Hear this, my friend:
did you know the primes go on forever, with no end?”
to wipe the tea and shock.
At length I said, “The primes don’t end?
My friend, that’s crazy talk.”
. . .
Finish reading Orlin's poem here at his website. While there, explore other fascinating things.